H-P Surprised By Hurd Backlash: Report

H-P's board is surprised by the ousted CEO Mark Hurd's attempts to defend his reputation, according to a report.
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SAN FRANCISCO (TheStreet) -- Hewlett-Packard's (HPQ) - Get Report board has been caught off guard by ousted CEO Mark Hurd's attempts to defend his reputation, according to a report.

H-P's directors "hoped he would move on," one person familiar with the situation told

The Wall Street Journal

, adding that H-P's board prefers to focus on "protecting the brand and taking the higher ground," according to the report.

Hurd resigned late Friday after an ethics violation. Mike Holston, H-P's General Counsel, said the company had unearthed irregularities in payments made to a marketing contractor, as well as Hurd's expense reports.

"Mark had a close personal relationship with an H-P contractor that was hired by the office of the CEO," he said. "It was a systematic pattern of improper expenses and inaccurate reports."

H-P's investigation determined there was no violation of H-P's sexual harassment policy, but did find violations of H-P's standards of business conduct.

In a statement Friday, Hurd said he "realized there were instances in which I did not live up to the standards and principles of trust, respect and integrity that I have espoused at H-P and which have guided me throughout my career."

Hurd reached a private settlement with the contractor, Jodie Fisher, who said in a statement that she "never had an affair or intimate sexual relationship" with Hurd.

Shortly before his resignation, Hurd hired Sitrick & Co., a Los Angeles-based crisis communications firm that worked with former H-P Chairman Patricia Dunn, the

Journal

reports, citing a person familiar with the matter.

While the

Journal

notes that Hurd left with a promise not to disparage H-P or "induce others" to do so,

Oracle

(ORCL) - Get Report

CEO

Larry Ellison

ripped H-P's board for its handling of Hurd's resignation.

"In losing Mark Hurd, the H-P board failed to act in the best interest of H.P.'s employees, shareholders, customers and partners," Ellison wrote in an email to

The New York Times

, which posted excerpts of the email late Monday. "The H-P board admits that it fully investigated the sexual harassment claims against Mark and found them to be utterly false."

The

Journal

reports that Ellison, who is a friend of Hurd's, wasn't asked by Hurd to send the email nor did Hurd review it, citing a person familiar with the matter.

-- Written by Robert Holmes in Boston

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